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Court orders interim forfeiture of Ex-NIMASA DG, Calistus Obi’s N37.5m, hotel   

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A Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, Monday ordered the temporary forfeiture of four bank drafts totalling N37.5m and a hotel, La Diva, belonging to Calistus Obi, a former acting Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

Presiding Justice Saidu Saidu gave the order following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, through its counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren disclosed this in a statement to TIMELY POST.

He further explained that the hotel, which is located at Block V, Phase V and Plot11, Core Area, Asaba, Delta State, comprises 22 rooms, a lobby bar, a restaurant, a kitchen, a swimming pool, a 350-seater hall, a gymnasium and a parking lot sitting on a 3000-metre square of land.

Also, Counsel to EFCC, Oyedepo reportedly told the court that the money used to purchase the property was fraudulently converted by the respondent from the account of NIMASA.

The EFCC, in an affidavit in support of the application, also stated that the respondent used the funds he received from the Agency’s Committee on Intelligence Gathering and Technical Committee on Ratification to purchase the hotel.

But the applicant’s counsel further told the court that the respondent had raised the drafts (one Zenith Bank Plc draft and three Diamond Bank Plc draft) in the name of the EFCC to pay back part of the money he fraudulently acquired from the NIMASA account while being prosecuted for money laundering for which he was eventually convicted on May 23.

Oyedepo, therefore, urged the court to grant the prayers of the anti-graft agency on the grounds that the property and funds “are reasonably suspected to be acquired with the proceeds of some unlawful activities.”

In his ruling, Justice Saidu after considering the legal fireworks ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and property.

He also directed the publication of the interim forfeiture order in any national newspaper for the respondent or any party who is interested in the property to appear before the court and show cause within fourteen (14) days why the final order of forfeiture of the said property should not be made in favour of the Federal government

The presiding Justice, meanwhile, has adjourned the case to November 4, for further hearing.

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44 workers sacked in Benue property company

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The Benue Investment and Property Company (BIPC), on Tuesday announced the sack of 44 workers it claimed were redundant.

Mr Alex Adum, its Managing Director, who announced this at his first accountability press briefing in Makurdi, said that their employment followed due processes, but “lacked business needs”.

According to him, the reduction in the workforce is part of an ongoing restructuring in the company, NAN reports

“All the affected staff have been redundant; I inherited a total of 204 workers, among those sacked were three Executive Directors and four General Managers.

“In 2016, BIPC had 66 staff; between 2016 and 2019, an additional 150 staff were employed,” he said.

Adums said that the company’s monthly wage bill rose to N37 million due to the number of employees.

The managing director said that he was aware of the criticisms the sack would attract, but declared that he was “doing it in good faith, and in the interest of Benue”.

He said that the company’s shares and assets had hugely depreciated due to misapplication of managerial principles.

“Previous administrations refused to apply sound managerial principles; they made the company a social service extension centre.

“They watched while the company collapsed, and left a lot of liabilities for the government to battle with,” he fumed.

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Supreme court fixes date to resume FG, senator Kashamu’s extradition legal battle

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The Supreme Court has fixed October 17 to resume hearing in an appeal filed by former Senator Buruji Kashamu challenging the Federal government’s move to extradite him to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking offence

The long drawn legal battle started in 2014 by Kashamu at the Federal high court to thwart the request of the American government that he be extradited to USA to answer alleged criminal charges filed against him about heroine drug importation into the country.

It was gathered that ten other persons said to have been involved in the alleged drug offence have been tried, convicted and sentenced to various prison terms while Kashamu reportedly escaped and ran back to Nigeria prompting the extradition request against him.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the key respondents in the two appeals filed by Kashamu to stop the federal government from executing two Appeal Court judgments granted against him.

This is coming as the AGF is making moves to challenge together, the multiple lawsuits filed by Kashamu in various courts on ground of abuse of court processes and use of the suits to harass the Federal government and the NDLEA.

Apart from the two appeals pending in Supreme Court Kashamu has filed two fresh ones at the Federal high court in Abuja before Justice Okon Abang and another one at the Lagos division of the court before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

The hearing date has been communicated to parties involved in the legal tussle through issuance of hearing notice.

The Apex Court is to review the two judgments delivered in favour of the Federal Government by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4, 2018.

Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred Federal Government from extraditing him to America.

The ex-senator is praying the Apex Court to set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.

But government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, has joined issues with him over a counter prayer that the Supreme Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal meant for his extradition.

The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside two judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.

The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug trafficking criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.

Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is leading the legal team of the lawmaker while Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, is leading the Federal government legal team at the Apex Court.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4, 2018 delivered a judgment in favour of the federal government to extradite Kashamu who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.

The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The court held that the hearsay, saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by Kashamu on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that contravened Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government.

Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

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Supreme court fixes date to resume FG, senator Kashamu’s extradition legal battle

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on

The Supreme Court has fixed October 17 to resume hearing in an appeal filed by former Senator Buruji Kashamu challenging the Federal government’s move to extradite him to the United States of America (USA) for trial in an alleged hard drug trafficking offence

The long drawn legal battle started in 2014 by Kashamu at the Federal high court to thwart the request of the American government that he be extradited to USA to answer alleged criminal charges filed against him about heroine drug importation into the country.

It was gathered that ten other persons said to have been involved in the alleged drug offence have been tried, convicted and sentenced to various prison terms while Kashamu reportedly escaped and ran back to Nigeria prompting the extradition request against him.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) are the key respondents in the two appeals filed by Kashamu to stop the federal government from executing two Appeal Court judgments granted against him.

This is coming as the AGF is making moves to challenge together, the multiple lawsuits filed by Kashamu in various courts on ground of abuse of court processes and use of the suits to harass the Federal government and the NDLEA.

Apart from the two appeals pending in Supreme Court Kashamu has filed two fresh ones at the Federal high court in Abuja before Justice Okon Abang and another one at the Lagos division of the court before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke.

The hearing date has been communicated to parties involved in the legal tussle through issuance of hearing notice.

The Apex Court is to review the two judgments delivered in favour of the Federal Government by the Lagos division of Court of Appeal on May 4, 2018.

Kashamu had in his notice of appeal to Supreme Court complained that the Court of Appeal erred in law by voiding and setting aside the two judgments of the Federal High Court, Abuja which barred Federal Government from extraditing him to America.

The ex-senator is praying the Apex Court to set aside the decisions of the Court of Appeal as they affected him.

But government through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, has joined issues with him over a counter prayer that the Supreme Court should uphold the judgments of the Court of Appeal meant for his extradition.

The AGF claimed that the Appeal Court was right in setting aside two judgments of the High Court because they were based on hearsay evidence of Kashamu before the court.

The AGF urged the Supreme Court to allow the judgments of the Court of Appeal to enable the Federal government extradite the Senator to USA to prove his innocence or otherwise in the hard drug trafficking criminal charge filed against him by the American government since 2015 when he was alleged to have escaped to Nigeria.

Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, is leading the legal team of the lawmaker while Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, is leading the Federal government legal team at the Apex Court.

The Court of Appeal had on May 4, 2018 delivered a judgment in favour of the federal government to extradite Kashamu who had engaged government in a long drawn legal battle since 2014.

The appellate court in the two separate judgments voided and set aside all orders made by a Federal High Court between 2014 and 2017 restraining the government from proceeding with the extradition.

Justice Joseph Ikyeghi in the judgments marked CA/L/1030/15 and CA/L/1030A/15 in the appeal filed by the AGF held that the orders granted Kashamu by Justice Okon Abang were invalid and unknown to laws because they were based on hearsays and speculations by Senator Kashamu.

The court held that the hearsay, saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo was instigating the extradition was not established under any law.

The appeal court said that an affidavit deposed to by Kashamu on the issue was worthless and not in compliance with Evidence Act because the senator himself claimed that he was told by several persons who were not called to testify in court.

Justice Ikyeghi held that Justice Abang in his two judgments on the issue erred in law by playing undue reliance on affidavit that contravened Evidence Act to give judgment against the Federal government.

Consequently, the order of injunction stopping the extraction process was voided and set aside.

Justice Ikyeghi had agreed with counsel to the Federal Government Chief Emeka Ngige, SAN, that a statutory body like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) can only be prohibited from performing its statutory functions based on facts and not hearsays and speculations as in the instant case.

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